We’re almost halfway through Summit League play, but now is as good a time as any to put out our first Summit League power rankings. It’s a strong mid-major league ranked 14th in RPI out of 32 conferences and here’s how it stacks up bottom to top.
The Ass End
8. Western Illinois 10-8 (1-4)
Best Player: Kobe Webster 15.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.3 apg
If the Leathernecks didn’t escape with a win that needed overtime at home against Fort Wayne they’d be 0-for in the Summit League. Four of their 10 wins have come against non-Division I schools that I’ve never heard of.
Vs. USD: L 62-50. WIU got within four points of the lead, but then Matt Mooney happened. Mooney scored 11 points on 6-of-6 shooting in the final minutes to down the Leathernecks.
7. Denver 8-12 (2-4)
Best Player: Daniel Amigo 15.8, 6.9, 1.7
Like WIU, Denver has played a bunch of nobodies and it hasn’t turned out well for the Pioneers (had to look that mascot up). The Pioneers were dealt a brutal conference schedule—having played five of seven road games already—but did come away with a win at NDSU who was picked third in the league this year.
Vs. USD: L 82-71. Again, Mooney led the Yotes over a lesser Summit League foe with 20 points and six steals. The loss sent Denver to a 6-9 record. (NICE)
Ehh, Who Cares
6. Omaha 7-16 (2-4)
Best Player: Zach Jackson 18.5, 6.8, 0.9
Omaha started the year dropping 10 of its first 11 games including seven-straight to open the year. That’s an absolutely shitty way to start the season and it has to suck that they likely have no fans with Creighton residing in the same city.
Vs. USD: L 85-71. This is the freshest game off the schedule for both teams and the Yotes had no problem leading wire-to-wire on Saturday. Tyler Hagedorn was the top man with 25 points, seven boards, and a trio of three-pointers.
5. Oral Roberts 7-15 (3-4)
Best Player: Emmanuel Nzekwesi 13.3, 7.2, 2.1 (don’t ask me how to pronounce his name)
These guys lost all but two games against Division I opponents in the non-con and even took a loss to Division II school. Somehow ORU turned this godawful non-con performance into a three-game winning streak to start Summit League play, but have since dropped four-straight.
Vs. USD: L 82-70. Another Mooney led with as the guard picked up 19 points and the Coyotes led by double digits for the entire second half.
4. North Dakota State 10-10 (2-3)
Best Player: Paul Miller 18.9, 5.7, 3.7
Unlike football, NDSU is a middling team in basketball having stayed within two games either side of .500 for the entire season. The only good thing they have done of note is somehow come away with a win over our beloved Yotes (we won’t talk about that again).
3. Fort Wayne 14-9 (3-3)
Best Player: Bryson Scott 23.0, 4.7, 2.8
The Mastodons sit ahead of NDSU only because they beat them on Saturday. However, they do boast one of the top players in the league in Bryson Scott.
Vs. USD: L 68-58. The Yotes had no problem whooping some ass and you can read more about that game.
It’s a South Dakota League
2. South Dakota State 17-5 (5-0)
Best Player: Mike Daum 22.9, 8.9, 1.5
1. South Dakota 17-5 (5-1)
Best Player: Matt Mooney 17.3, 3.6, 3.0
This is really take your pick at this point with USD owning the top defense and SDSU the top offense. So, we’ll go with the Yotes because defense wins championships. However, this one will be decided Wednesday in the SCSC. So, tailgate properly and give the bunnies hell as a student section.